Filed under: Announcements & Events, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services
In the past two years the UK did everything in its power to fight piracy. After numerous efforts, the country’s High Court managed to force internet providers to block access to The Pirate Bay and, recently, to Kat.Ph, H33t, and Fenopy. If you live on the island and want to keep accessing your favorite file-sharing websites, here are some alternatives to consider.
Virtual Private Networks
We’ve often mentioned here, @p2pon.com, what a VPN service is. Here’s the short story, one more time. This is a private network that enables virtual encrypted connections hidden from prying eyes by routing all of your internet traffic through remote servers from across the globe. It’s basically a proxy service, but with more hip. Consider our list of virtual private networks here.
The Onion Router is a complex system that helps you hide your true IP address through various virtual layers of anonymity – thus the name. As far as security is concerned, you need not worry. Your data is encrypted and re-encrypted numerous times, and sent through a succession of Tor relays. To install and use Tor is quite easy. First you need to go to https://www.torproject.org/ and download their application (it works on basically any operating system – Windows, Apple, Linux/UNIX). Then extract the archive anywhere you like. Simply open the extracted folder and start browsing by double-clicking the “Start Tor Browser” executable.
You will notice that a separate window opens up (the Vidalia Control Panel), along with an internet browser that shows which IP address you’re currently using. Furthermore, the Vidalia Control Panel comes with plenty of features, from establishing how you connect through TOR, to appearance and other advanced settings. Also, you can install the Torbutton for easy access.
This one is a plugin for Firefox and Google Chrome that helps you access websites that are either being blocked or seized. It’s basically a web browser redirector; if a domain name is seized, the plugin will search for similar domains. To install MAFIAAFire, you just need to go to their website here.
It doesn’t get easier than this. Just go to http://torrentproxies.com/ and pick your choice from a very long and useful list of proxies.
Accessing Through Direct IP
Instead of typing in the usual address of let’s say The Pirate Bay, you can instead use the domain’s IP address. To find out which is it, you can either look on the web for such a service (example: http://www.hostip.info/) or find it yourself by going to the Command Prompt (Windows OS) and just ping the web address (example: ping www.thepiratebay.se, where the number between the brackets is the website’s IP address).
Bad things never come alone. After being forced to stop its connections with both the Swedish and the Norwegian Pirate Parties, The Pirate Bay is now facing another problem – Google UK has decided to down-rank the website.
After being blocked by UK’s major internet providers, TPB is now receiving another hit, this time from Google. The search giant had finally responded to the many requests from the BPI to take action against the pirate ship; to the industry’s delight, Google is not showing (anymore) relevant results when someones types in (the) pirate bay, but instead proxy websites and Wikipedia’s entry are shown on the search engine’s first page.
Despite this move, it’s not likely for TPB to lose traffic; first of all, the name of the website is fairly easy to remember, and second, Google’s results point to a lot of alternatives (read proxy websites).
The move comes after UK’s BPI continuously asked Google to take measures against The Pirate Bay, and this seemed like a quick solution to calm the spirits down. Moreover, it’s rumored that the search engine is testing its down-ranking technology for TPB.
We’re not sure whether the bay’s team is happy with all this attention or not, but it feels like this situation could easily get out of hand, especially if Google decides to apply the same strategy in the US.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Digital Media, Mobile Phones, P2P technology, Entertainment Industry
The music industry was the first to feel the various effects of a digital era, and as time passed, their pockets grew thinner and thinner. After more than a decade of losing money to this arch “enemy”, the industry is finally coming around with an increase of 0,3% in their revenues. Not much, but could this mean an unexpected recovery?
The report was released on Tuesday by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, who said that the total revenue of the music industry has reached 16.5% billion, the first sign of an increasing income.
“It’s clear that 2012 saw the global recording industry moving onto the road to recovery,” Frances Moore, chief executive of the London-based federation, said.
“There’s a palpable buzz in the air that I haven’t felt for a long time.”
It’s been a tremendous struggle for the music industry to go head to head with a digital era that proved to be stronger, more reliable, and more accessible than anything music enthusiasts had seen before. However, starting with 2012 the unthinkable happened – digital sales, along with new sources of revenues brought more money into the industry’s pockets, a fortunate event that helped countering the continuing decline in CD sales.
“At the beginning of the digital revolution it was common to say that digital was killing music,” Edgar Berger (CEO of the International, Sony Music Entertainment) said.
But things have changed since then, and now Edgar Berger says that “digital is saving music”.
He is referring to digital services that support the music industry, and they include iTunes, subscription-based services such as Spotify, Rhapsody, Muve Music, and the likes of it. As a matter of fact, an increase in the number of subscribers to these services has been recorded, with 44% more users than last year.
The obvious success of subscribe-based services, has made giant companies like Apple and Google think; it’s very likely that the two are to introduce the same kind of services in the near future.
Royalties from musical performances and marketing models are also on the rise.
The improvement in revenues is not, however, felt in countries like China and Russia, where music piracy is still a major problem. Also, Great Britain could follow suit, especially since one of its prominent retail music chain went out of business (we’re referring to the HMV).
As for the United States, music sales had dropped in 2012, but, according to the British “Enders Analysis” research group this is going to change in 2013, with revenues rising from $5.32 billion to $5.35 billion.
Alice Enders, senior analyst at the research firm, is confident that the music industry will be rising from its ashes sooner than we think.
“If there is a lesson to take away, it is probably that the earlier you can embrace new business models and services, the better,” Paul Brindley, chief executive of Music Ally, said.
“Whether this is signaling a turnaround that will lead to inexorable growth, who knows? But it does at least signal a bottoming out, with room for growth.”
Well, if services like Spotify would reach the Eastern bloc (and not only), maybe Mr. Paul Brindley is right. Accessibility, a fair price, both online and offline purchasing, and embracing a digital era that’s obviously not trying to take the bread off creators’ mouth are things the industry should seriously consider.
Filed under: Announcements & Events, Entertainment Industry, File-Sharing Programs, Networks & Services, Legal P2P News & Issues
The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) is making efforts to force all six major ISPs in the UK block three more filesharing websites which, it claims, are harming the industry considerably
The three torrent sites targeted by the BPI are Fenopy, H33t and Kickass Torrents. According to BPI Director of Communications, Adam Liversage, the music industry’s ally is seeking orders court orders requiring the major U.K. ISPs – BT, Sky, Virgin Media, O2, Everything Everywhere and TalkTalk to prevent their customers from accessing the aforementioned filesharing websites.
Back in April last year, BPI was successful in obtaining a favorable decision by the British High Court ordering U.K. ISPs to block access to The Pirate Bay. Now, the trade group is pushing for more.
The Open Rights Group was prompt to comment the BPI’s hunting announcement:
Website blocking is an extreme response. There are growing fears this precedent will make it too easy and quick to block sites. Time needs to be taken to consider the legitimate use of the sites.
There needs to be a more specific and adequate definition of the precise URL or IP address to be blocked to prevent mistakes.
Once a site is blocked, its alleged clone sites can also be blocked, but in this case, BPI will be able to practice this without a court order. The decisions would be made between BPI and ISPs and will not be published.
The blocking of these sites does not come with an expiry date. This indefinite blocking is potentially problematic if the number of sites blocked keep growing, leaving a large number of sites hidden from the public.
These court hearings between a judge, ISPs and right holders do not sufficiently represent the needs of the user as their voice is not included during the hearing.
The ORG will not intervene in this particular case, but says it is likely to do so in the future due to the lack of user rights being represented.
The Digital Economy Act is the fruit of the UK government’s attempt to fight online piracy. Amongst its provisions, sending warning letters to those who are suspected of copyright infringement is mentioned. Strangely enough, a vital document specifying who’s to pay for all the troubles has been pulled out, possibly leading to a delay of the DEA.
The document in question was titled “Sharing of Costs Order” and, apparently, it has been pulled out from the DEA. The government’s plan was to kick-start the anti-piracy measures included in the DEA in March next year. These measures consist in sending warning letters and even account blocking for repeat offenders. However, that last bid may not even be considered; not only internet accounts being blocked had been harshly criticized, but rights holders, to the surprise of some, came with a counterproposal – to drop this unorthodox measure and opt for a fine (read more here).
“We need to make technical changes to the cost-sharing statutory instrument,” the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said.
“These changes will not impact on the overall effect of the legislation. We will re-introduce the statutory instrument as soon as possible.”
The reason for this decision has been explained by digital rights campaigners, who said that the document was pulled out due to concerns expressed by UK’s Treasury – the costs for managing and applying DEA’s anti-piracy measures are not consistent with the Treasury’s “Managing Public Money” guidelines.
As a result, the document, which was originally drafted by the DMCS and Ofcom, is now going to be revised. After that, it’s the Parliament’s decision whether to vote positive or negative on it.
“It’s going to take time – it has to go through the parliamentary process and then through the EU,” Peter Bradwell of the Open Rights Group said.
“In the grand scheme of things, it makes it look like the target for sending out letters in 2014 is possibly no longer realistic.”
Mr. Bradwell also expressed his opinion regarding the Treasury’s concerns over how public money is being used.
“Ofcom is spending hefty amounts of public money, which ultimately would be paid back by copyright owners participating in the scheme,” he said.
“The government maintains the issue now is technical compliance with the guidelines. The exact reasons are not clear. But the fact that Ofcom is stumping up many millions of pounds with apparently no clear commitment from copyright owners about who will pay it back, and when, could be part of the problem.”
It’s yet unclear how much time it will take for the DEA to kick in, but, as it happened with other controversial legislations in the past, we can expect some drastic changes.
Stay tuned to find out more!